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Chris Wagner with his owl carving. Photo from Reboli Center

The Reboli Center’s May Artisan of the month is Chris Wagner, Chainsaw Carving Connoisseur.

Chris Wagner was born and raised on Long Island and resides in West Sayville. He is a trained chef and director of food services at a health care facility. It was while that he was working as a chef and researching ice sculpting that he added another dimension to his career. He was enamored by the technique of carving, all be it a bit dangerous, but was compelled to learn the trade. In the summer of 2013 he spent several days learning the basic techniques with well-known carver Barre Pinske at his studio in Vermont. He left with a new creative side job and a love of the medium.

A pelican carving by Chris Wagner. Photo from Reboli Center

Over the years he developed his craft and was able to establish a shop at a local firewood distribution center – provided with a continuous source of discarded wood and an area conducive to the level of noise he generates during his creative process.

Chris Wagners’s statues are primarily animals, very detailed oriented. His pieces are carved with a massive blade. He brings birds and animals to life in a variety of woods. When completed, he uses a blowtorch to burn a smooth finish on each design. This technique illustrates the natural grain in the wood and adds a depth to each piece. To withstand inclement weather, the final step is to stain the work after a relief cut is installed in the back of the sculpture to preserve the wood. Consequently, with chainsaw carving, no two pieces are alike so each one is a one-of-a kind original work of art. He does accept commissions, so please contact The Reboli Center.

According to Chris, “I am familiar with Joe Reboli’s work and he was an amazing artist. I am so honored and thankful to be able to show my work in a museum named for him.” Lois Reboli, president and founder of The Reboli Center said, “This is the first time we have had a chainsaw carving sculptor as our artisan of the month. We are so proud to feature his unique and whimsical work. It is a wonderful addition to our current “Bloom” and floral exhibit at the Center. We hope everyone will be as thrilled with his sculptures as we are.”

The Reboli Center is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook, and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and for more information, please call 631-751-7707.